#188 Excel Auto-fill Options

Most people have probably noticed that when you’re working on a spreadsheet and entering text, Excel attempts to be helpful and will try to guess what you are typing by showing a “match” that you can accept simply by pressing the Enter key. These guesses that Excel makes simply come from the contents of the cells in the same column, above where you are making your entry.

This is great to save you some typing and to help improve the consistency of your data. However, if you have a big list with lots of potential “guesses” there are a couple of other options that you might find helpful.

Pick From List…

Imagine you have a very long list with a column for ‘Country’ and you can’t remember if you should use ‘United Kingdom’, ‘U.K.’, ‘England.’ or some other variation. And of course you don’t want to scroll the entire list to find manually to find it right?

If you simply right-click in the cell and choose “Pick From List….” you’ll get a handy drop-down list of all the previous entries above in that same column as shown below.

Keyboard Option

Of course we don’t want to leave out you ‘keyboard people’. You can access the same drop-down list if you use the  ALT + Down Arrow key combination.

Don’t Like Auto-complete?

If this auto-complete feature causes you more aggravation than it’s worth, you can also turn it off.

  1. From the Tools menu, select Options.
  2. Click on the Edit tab.
  3. Remove the check-mark from the Enable AutoComplete for cell values option box.
  4. Click OK.

Do you like the auto-complete feature?!


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